Before Gotye and Kimbra dominated the globe with body paint, a break-up, and a ‘baa baa black sheep’ riff there was Nick Cave obsessing over, then murdering Kylie Minogue, then dumping her body in the river (Ahhh, the halcyon 90s).
Now Cave is set to do it all again, with the news that the Bad Seeds frontman and the impossible princess have rejoined in the studio once more for a brand new version of the enduring 1996 duet, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’.
The new version of the song was recorded for Minogue’s latest release, The Abbey Road Sessions, which sees ‘our Kylie’ re-imagining a selection of her back catalogue at the titular London recording studio with the help of an orchestra to drastically rework the likes of ‘The Loco-Motion’, ‘Confide In Me’, and ‘I Should Be So Lucky.’
Included amongst the tracklist is a brand new version of ‘Where The Wild Roses Grew’, which plays up its gothic underpinnings with a sombre guitar, gently throbbing percussion, and of course, the beautiful intertwining of Cave and Minogue’s vocals – both of which have deepened and been enriched in the intervening 16 years between the two versions.
Originally released in 1996, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ was the lead single from Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds’ ninth studio album, Murder Ballads, and the result of Cave agonising over several scrapped compositions to feature Minogue until he settled on the protagonist of Elisa Day and the tale of an obsession that turns to murder.[do action=”pullquote”]The new version of the song was recorded for Minogue’s latest release, The Abbey Road Sessions, which sees ‘our Kylie’ re-imagining a selection of her back catalogue[/do]
Upon its release, it not only became the most popular single for either performer to date with multiple appearances in the upper reaches of the charts, but helped revitalise Minogue’s clean-cut pop princess image, and seeing her pal about with the gothic poet – both in song and the contentious video clip featuring the pair – allowed her to cross-over into the ‘alternative’ realm proper (back when such things were much more discernible).
The duet also spurred Minogue to further herself as a serious artist, attempting to complicate the perception of her as ‘simply’ a pop star. This included reciting ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ as poetry at a London conference later that year, at the suggestion of Cave, while her next album, 1997’s Impossible Princess was seen as a ploy for the alternative market, including two songs co-written with James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers.
All the while, ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ remained a fixture in Minogue’s live set, and would be for many years to come.
You can listen to the update version of Minogue and Cave’s ‘Where The Wild Roses Grow’ over at Soundcloud.Write a Letter to the Editor